Project Update - August 2013
A spell of warm and settled weather during July coincided with some significant progress along the route. Engineering works are now evident right along the 30 miles of new railway.
Travelling south on the A7, the first obvious works are evident at Hardengreen roundabout. Excavation work is ongoing in advance of construction of the largest new structure on the route. In the centre of the roundabout, utilities are currently being diverted to make way for a supporting pier to be constructed during the months ahead.
Slightly further south, Lothianbridge viaduct is undergoing a facelift in advance of trains returning to service. Temporary railings are visible from the roadside and masonry and pointing work is ongoing.
South of Newtongrange, piling work has been completed on the Gore Glen bridge, where a new structure will carry the railway across the A7. Piling involved deep drilling to form foundations for this major new structure.
Into the Scottish Borders, rock cutting has begun at Falahill. Material removed from the site is being used to form new access roads now under construction in Heriot and Fountainhall.
With the majority of bridges along the route being reused or refurbished, work is now underway to grit blast and restore some of the metal structures visible across the Gala Water. South of Stow, Bowshank Tunnel is now sealed to allow structural works to begin.
In Gala, a permanent road closure at Plumtreehall Brae is now in place to allow the weak bridge in that location to be demolished. The black path has also closed in some locations to permit excavation work to progress.
In Tweedbank, a large pile of earth is now visible where excavation of the station and car park footprint is underway. The material excavated here will eventually be moved to Currie Road in Gala where a railway embankment will be constructed.
Away from public view, over 500,000 tonnes of earth works have now been excavated from the Shawfair area. Some of that material has been used to build up the formation of the city bypass diversion. This 400metre stretch of road will open in September, allowing project engineers to cut down through the city bypass and build a bridge for the railway to run under.
In the same area, construction of the first new bridge on the route has begun just south of the Shawfair Station location. Mining remediation work in this area is also now reaching completion.
Also away from the main road, excavation work has been progressing in rural areas near Borthwick. Where possible, the railway corridor is being used to carry heavy plant and trucks.
In all areas, great care is being taken to keep roads free of mud through use of street cleaners. During dry warm periods, we have been using water bowsers to suppress dust as much as possible.
Hugh Wark, Network Rail’s project director commented:
“The work now evident along the route follows months of planning and it is satisfying to see the progress being made.
“We’re fully aware that the increasing pace of the project will also result in more project traffic on the roads and additional noise and activity during the day. We will do all we can to minimise disruption, however, please get in touch with us if you feel that we are not delivering this project to the high standards we have set ourselves.”